Mineral Pitch And Coal Tar
Shilajit is widely used in Indian Medicine and revered for its wide range of health benefits, even in places like the Middle East, Russia, and Europe. It is a one of a kind bio-mineral substance that is incredibly rich in nutrients and bio-active compounds that improves bodily function. Shilajit is brownish to a blackish paste with variable consistency that is easily mistaken for coal tar. Coal tar, however, is a viscous black liquid made by distilling coal. It was discovered in the 1600s and was widely used as a medicine in the 1800s. Today, the World Health Organization lists coal tar as essential medicine that is effective and safe.
Like shilajit, coal tar contains organic compounds, but unlike shilajit, coal tar is also used in the construction industry, particularly in pavements. As a medicine, it is used to treat psoriasis and has potent antifungal, anti-parasitic, and even anti-inflammatory properties. However, coal tar use has side effects, compared to shilajit, which has been established to be safe for regular use with almost no side effects even in high dosages provided it is purified.
Antioxidant & Antibacterial Efficacy
In a research article titled “Some Biological Activities and Safety of Mineral Pitch,” a team of researchers compared shilajit with coal tar. They observed that shilajit’s phenolic compounds were higher than that of coal tar. Phenolic compounds directly affect antioxidant activity; thus, shilajit having more of it makes it more potent as an antioxidant. Coal tar offered better antibacterial activity against S. aureus although increasing shilajit dosage and improving timing gave shilajit decent antibacterial quality as well. Coal tar is effective against C. albicans although shilajit still offered inhibitive properties. Coal tar is widely used for the treatment of psoriasis and dandruff, primarily due to its potent antiseptic and antifungal properties.
Cytotoxicity Against Cancer Cells
Shilajit was tested on various cancer cell types. No testing was done for coal tar mainly since it is not usually used orally. Shilajit demonstrated toxicity to all cancer cells tested. This included carcinoma cell lines, breast, lung, liver, colon, and ovarian cancer cells.
The study did not say if the samples were purified in form. Both substances can easily be contaminated with heavy metals; thus, it is crucial to make sure they are purified first before use. In their testing, both samples contained lead, mercury, and arsenic with coal tar having higher levels of arsenic than shilajit. Advanced purification methods should not make heavy metals an issue since these metals can effectively be removed from substance while preserving all the beneficial components.
The study suggests that shilajit is better overall as an antimicrobial agent and as an antioxidant compared to coal tar, but coal tar is effective as a topical antiseptic and antifungal. It is necessary to point out though that shilajit is more versatile compared to coal tar.